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Old 10-25-2010   #1
gtexan02
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Default Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

Upon looking at the scores from last week, your first assumption might be that the new "skirts only" rule has ruined defense. That players are so hesitant to make big hits that offenses were able to run wild on Sunday.

If I asked you whether or not the new rule could have benefited defenses, I bet your first thought would be "no" the new rules certainly did not bolster defenses. You might think to yourself "Cleveland put up 30 points? The Raiders almost broke 60? The Bill scored 34 on the Ravens? The new rule is ruining any chance defenses ever had!"

I, however, believe the opposite. I actually think the new rule did benefit defenses. And heres why:


Instead of going for the big hit, defensive players played more carefully and went for the interception instead.

Also, instead of going for the big hit, defensive players went for the strip + wrap up more often and got more fumbles as well.

This resulted in an above average number of turnovers, and a ton of defensive touchdowns and short fields.


Proof:
1. In 2009, there were a total of 872 turnovers. There are 256 regular season games, meaning that there was an average of 3.4 turnovers per game.

Last week, there was a total of 58 turnovers. So far, weve played 13 games. Extrapolated out over a full season, and you've got 1142 turnovers, or an increase of over 30%



2. In 2009, there were a total of 74 touchdowns by defensive teams (after an INT or after recovering a fumble).

Last week, there was a total of 10. As before, there were only 13 games. Extrapolated out over an entire season and you've got 196 defensive scores. Thats a 266% increase!


I know what you're thinking. The defensive stats are impressive, but I still think there was a lot more offense than usual. I mean, the Raiders put up 59 points!

That brings me to proof 3.

Last week, there was an average of ~343 offensive yards per team per game.
In 2006, there was an average of ~335 offensive yards per team per game. The median from last year was about 340 yards. Thats not a statistically significant difference, and represents an increase of only about 2% (8 yards).



Anyway, this is only one week. So we'll have to do a comparison of before and after from this year once the season is completed to really see if this difference holds out.

However, Ive already heard commentators making the point that the new rule is changing the game for the worse and that defenses are taking a beating and they are using ONLY the scores to prove their point.

If you look closely, you can see that defenses actually got a big boost in turnovers and scoring while giving up almost the exact same yardage. The new rule seems to benefit defenses by making them play smarter.
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Old 10-25-2010   #2
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

I mentioned it last week, but I think the revised enforcement of existing rules will result in more fundamentally sound defensive techniques pertaining to wrapping up and tackling the ball carriers.
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Old 10-25-2010   #3
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
I mentioned it last week, but I think the revised enforcement of existing rules will result in more fundamentally sound defensive techniques pertaining to wrapping up and tackling the ball carriers.
Man something needs to improve the tackling because it is poor league wide. IMO football is not about incapacitating players. We can have solid hard football without intentionally sending people to hospital or ending their career.
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Old 10-25-2010   #4
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
I mentioned it last week, but I think the revised enforcement of existing rules will result in more fundamentally sound defensive techniques pertaining to wrapping up and tackling the ball carriers.
Bingo. You're supposed to use your arms to wrap them up and NOT let go, not to kill them. When you hit them with the outside of your elbows, instead of the inside, you are not trying to take them down; you are trying to knock them out and get on the highlight reels.

Note: ...but I'm OK with that if it's Peyton Manning.
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Old 10-25-2010   #5
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Man something needs to improve the tackling because it is poor league wide. IMO football is not about incapacitating players. We can have solid hard football without intentionally sending people to hospital or ending their career.
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Bingo. You're supposed to use your arms to wrap them up and NOT let go, not to kill them. When you hit them with the outside of your elbows, instead of the inside, you are not trying to take them down; you are trying to knock them out and get on the highlight reels.

Note: ...but I'm OK with that if it's Peyton Manning.
Agreed on both of y'all's points. Too many folks seem intent on being entertained by the sensational aspects of big plays and not so much on the fundamentally sound aspects of the game itself.

For years I have screamed at my tv and players at games for blowing big tackles because they were either trying to strip the ball for a big play or make a big impact hit. I think it is far more important to take a ball carrier down than to play the percentage game of trying to make an ESPN highlight reel.
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Old 10-25-2010   #6
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
Agreed on both of y'all's points. Too many folks seem intent on being entertained by the sensational aspects of big plays and not so much on the fundamentally sound aspects of the game itself.

For years I have screamed at my tv and players at games for blowing big tackles because they were either trying to strip the ball for a big play or make a big impact hit. I think it is far more important to take a ball carrier down than to play the percentage game of trying to make an ESPN highlight reel.
Of course I will miss watching puny DBs bouncing off AJ!
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Old 10-25-2010   #7
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Of course I will miss watching puny DBs bouncing off AJ!
True, but he can still drag them, kicking and screaming, into the endzone.
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Old 10-25-2010   #8
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Of course I will miss watching puny LBs bouncing off AJ!
Fixed it for ya!
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Old 10-25-2010   #9
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by Double Barrel View Post
Agreed on both of y'all's points. Too many folks seem intent on being entertained by the sensational aspects of big plays and not so much on the fundamentally sound aspects of the game itself.

For years I have screamed at my tv and players at games for blowing big tackles because they were either trying to strip the ball for a big play or make a big impact hit. I think it is far more important to take a ball carrier down than to play the percentage game of trying to make an ESPN highlight reel.
Everyone wants that highlight reel hit just like in the NBA everyone wants to run up Kobe numbers and have that stupid highlight slam dunk on ESPN so they can watch it on the plasma while "making it rain" at the club. It's the metamorphosis of a team sport into an individual sport and it's a death sentance for the league if they don't put a stop to it. The injuries that result alone will be enough to kill the NFL if it continues unabbated. The quality of play would finish the job if injuries alone weren't enough.

What's worse is that kids in college could start playing the way the pros play (Because they're all going to the NFL right?) and if that happens then it will snowball into the death of the sport as we know it.

I'm good with the new rules as they seem to be a re-emphasis on fundamentals that has been sorely missing. Dunta Robinson's big "look at me moment" against Indy (getting caught with his pants down celebrating what a bad-ass he was) and his dangerous and idiotic hit on DeSean Jackson are connected. We all loved that Dunta could lay the wood on somebody but he's an example of that ability slowly becoming the most important aspect of a players game and then that change becoming a problem. Hitting machine who can't cover well or tackle properly isn't going to have a home in the league for much longer.
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Old 10-25-2010   #10
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Fixed it for ya!
Didn't we just have a thread dedicated to the fact our LBs aren't puny?
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Old 10-25-2010   #11
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by Hervoyel View Post
Everyone wants that highlight reel hit just like in the NBA everyone wants to run up Kobe numbers and have that stupid highlight slam dunk on ESPN so they can watch it on the plasma while "making it rain" at the club. It's the metamorphosis of a team sport into an individual sport and it's a death sentance for the league if they don't put a stop to it. The injuries that result alone will be enough to kill the NFL if it continues unabbated. The quality of play would finish the job if injuries alone weren't enough.

What's worse is that kids in college could start playing the way the pros play (Because they're all going to the NFL right?) and if that happens then it will snowball into the death of the sport as we know it.

I'm good with the new rules as they seem to be a re-emphasis on fundamentals that has been sorely missing. Dunta Robinson's big "look at me moment" against Indy (getting caught with his pants down celebrating what a bad-ass he was) and his dangerous and idiotic hit on DeSean Jackson are connected. We all loved that Dunta could lay the wood on somebody but he's an example of that ability slowly becoming the most important aspect of a players game and then that change becoming a problem. Hitting machine who can't cover well or tackle properly isn't going to have a home in the league for much longer.
Phil Simms said the same thing about Brandon Merriweather's hit vs. San Diego yesterday. He said something to the effect of ' Everyone thinks the league is taking away from the game. That was a prime example of a technically sound hit that had the same hard hit effect but with better fundamentals and if you notice the receiver didn't get a chance to make a play after the hit.'
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Old 10-25-2010   #12
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Didn't we just have a thread dedicated to the fact our LBs aren't puny?
It's not our LB's bouncing off AJ.
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Old 10-26-2010   #13
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

No. IMO

what I saw most of the weekend was hesitation by the tackling defensive player on how exactly to hit the guy without drawing a penalty. Resulting in more points being put on the scoreboard. The speed of the players themselves will beat any hesitation of the defense. What your going to see is high score-ing Arena Football games with little to no defensive hits at all.

The Dallas /Giants game just ended and it was yet another over 50 combined point game. With a backup QB. And there were 5 turnovers in that game. Taking INT's/ Fumbles and directly equating them to 'improved' defensive playing is a stretch, IMHO. QB's are going to have bad days, Manning had one all night long and still won. RB's are going to fumble. And they aren't and never have been protected from 'vicious hits'.
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Old 10-26-2010   #14
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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No. IMO

what I saw most of the weekend was hesitation by the tackling defensive player on how exactly to hit the guy without drawing a penalty. Resulting in more points being put on the scoreboard. The speed of the players themselves will beat any hesitation of the defense. What your going to see is high score-ing Arena Football games with little to no defensive hits at all.
I saw defensive players using their arms and hands a lot more. Instead of going in shoulder or helmet first, they went shoulder and arms first. It was much surer tackling. There was a perfect example on a return in the Dallas game. The Giants defensive player on special teams almost picked up Dez Bryant and laid him into the ground, on a play that you would usually see a "bit hit"

Last weekend there were 52.8 points per scored game, which is the 2nd highest single week total in the past 20 years. But the offensive yards per game was right within normal league averages. How can that possibly be? Turnovers! There was a 300% increase in defensive touchdowns and a 30% increase in turnovers last weekend.

Quote:
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The Dallas /Giants game just ended and it was yet another over 50 combined point game. With a backup QB. And there were 5 turnovers in that game.
Actually there were 7 turnovers in that game. And there was only 370 yards of offense per team. Thats above league average from last year (335 per game), but not by a ton. Especially when you consider that the game was completely out of hand by the 4th quarter and almost all of Kitnas yardage and scores came in total garbage time.

Quote:
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Taking INT's/ Fumbles and directly equating them to 'improved' defensive playing is a stretch, IMHO. QB's are going to have bad days, Manning had one all night long and still won. RB's are going to fumble. And they aren't and never have been protected from 'vicious hits'.
I still will contend that we saw a huge uptick in turnovers because defensive players are focusing more on the ball and less on the offensive player. This gives them better chances for the INT or knockdown. They used to try and separate the players from the ball, but now are playing the ball. We see more fumbles because its just as successful to strip a guy than to lay into him. Both can jar the ball loose.

And increased turnovers does increase scoring, as well. How many of Kitnas points would have come without that short field? He was awful all night. The only reason he was able to move the ball effectively in the 4th in 3 of the 4 drives was because the giants turned the ball over in their own territory. And on the last one, the Giants were in prevent and it was garbage time.

Watch the game again from last night. The tackling on the giants part was sure and clean. There were still plenty of big hits (heck, Romo got knocked on his ass) that were perfectly legal.
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Old 10-26-2010   #15
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

I remember the picture perfect tackle, and yes it was nice. Dallas got points all night long on turnovers, even with Romo in the beginning of the game. Actually I didn't see Dallas have a convincing drive all night long. The points at the end were due to a hurry up offense as well as garbage time stats. But Dallas had a chance at the end of that game to come back and win it, with 40 seconds left. Which just re-enforces my idea that there is no way you can make an 'improved defense' argument when the Giants have an 18 pt lead with 8 min left in the game and the Cowboys almost pull off a comeback win with a backup QB and terrible offensive playing all night long. Those two idea's just don't mesh.

I also saw Manningham split 2 defensive backs while running up the sideline then run for about another 10 yds for a 'TD'. Prior to this new enforcement period I am pretty sure BOTH defenders would have come over, whacked him good, and that would have resulted in him being pushed out of bounds. But in the NEW regime of 'please don't hurt me' football, they both pull up, afraid of the fines and suspention(sp) punishment, expecting the other one to get the hit and end the play and Manningham skips through untouched. Which was a direct result of this new no vicious hits mantra the NFL is putting out there. IMO

so NO, I didn't see any actually 'improved' defense last night due to the no Helmet to Helmet hits. What I did see is two teams taking advantage of a defensive players inability to adjust/react/ decide how to tackle after having to trash 20 years worth of football training that he has acquired since pee wee football. All in the interest of course of player safety.
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Old 10-26-2010   #16
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

The play you're referring to occurs at 3:52 or so
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW7O0vwFfDM

Jukes happen. Its not like no defensive players were ever juked before the rule changes.

Whats ironic is that to me, it looks like Sensabaugh (#43) is actually trying to lead with his helmet/shoulders, but takes a horrible angle and misses.

All he had to do was push the guy out of bounds. This isn't a result of a new rule (you can see he even tries to go helmet first and puts his head down), its about a guy taking a terrible angle and totally misreading the play

PS: Check out the awesome Wade Palm at 4:22 after the Kitna rocket
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Old 10-26-2010   #17
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Jukes happen. Its not like no defensive players were ever juked before the rule changes.
so do INT's and Fumbles, long before these new enforcement policy changes happened.

Go back and look at your own clip. Right after the Manningham play there is a comment about how disappointing the Dallas defense was and how they couldn't get any stops all night long. Which is a totally retarded comment given the amount of turnovers they produced. But the question you asked was does this new enforcement policy actually help a defense. Doesn't look like it to me. Take a look at the same clip at the 1st QTR 4 min mark, the receiver catches the ball and then shakes off a tackle. In the past that defender would have come up and laid the wood on that play, but instead he, plays scared, misses a tackle for fear of a penalty/fine/suspension, and the reciever shakes him off and gets about 18 yds YAC off of it. Did those same kind of plays happen prior to last weekends game? sure. All the time. So we can argue potatoe, patatoe all night long on angles, poor tackling, etc.

Only thing this new enforcement helps is offense's. IMO You don't notice any defensive players or even ex-players coming out and thinking this could be a good thing do you. You don't see any offensive players talking about retiring, or how they can't believe the NFL is allowing this to happen. The outcry is coming from the defensive side of the ball, as well it should. That's because there is no way this is going to 'help' any defense in the NFL. Which is what your question was. It is not going to 'improve' any defense in the entire NFL. It is only going to make their jobs vastly more difficult.

Go back and watch the game, Giants lineman 76 was making some outstanding open field blocks all night long. Lay you out, clean, good football, blocks that put defenders on the ground. What are the chances of someone who outweighs you by 100 pds injuring you when they come from your blindside and nail you? But you aren't going to see any rule changes, in the interest of protecting the defensive player, about that are you. Nope, because it produces offensive points and yards. Which is what the NFL wants, as a whole.

Your question was did this 'improve' defenses? My answer, emphatically, NO. Not in the least.
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Old 10-26-2010   #18
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by thegr8fan View Post
so do INT's and Fumbles, long before these new enforcement policy changes happened.
Yes they did, but not at the same rate that they did last weekend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thegr8fan
But the question you asked was does this new enforcement policy actually help a defense. Doesn't look like it to me. Take a look at the same clip at the 1st QTR 4 min mark, the receiver catches the ball and then shakes off a tackle. In the past that defender would have come up and laid the wood on that play, but instead he, plays scared, misses a tackle for fear of a penalty/fine/suspension, and the reciever shakes him off and gets about 18 yds YAC off of it. Did those same kind of plays happen prior to last weekends game? sure. All the time. So we can argue potatoe, patatoe all night long on angles, poor tackling, etc.
That particular play could go either way. And you're right, that happened both before and after the rule, so its impossible to know the difference. I dont know where to find stats on broken tackles or YAC, but it would be interesting to see if the numbers changed after the rule change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thegr8fan
Only thing this new enforcement helps is offense's. IMO You don't notice any defensive players or even ex-players coming out and thinking this could be a good thing do you. You don't see any offensive players talking about retiring, or how they can't believe the NFL is allowing this to happen. The outcry is coming from the defensive side of the ball, as well it should. That's because there is no way this is going to 'help' any defense in the NFL.
Thats because offensive players aren't going to get fined. The only reason the only complaints are coming from defensive players is because they are really the only ones at risk of getting penalized. Even if it improves their game, they are still going to be the only ones complaining because it has the chance of taking $$ out of their pockets.

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Originally Posted by thegr8fan
Which is what your question was. It is not going to 'improve' any defense in the entire NFL. It is only going to make their jobs vastly more difficult.

...

Your question was did this 'improve' defenses? My answer, emphatically, NO. Not in the least.
Vastly more difficult?
The average offensive yards per game last year was 335. This past week was 343. Thats only an 8 yard increase. It didn't seem like much of anything changed. Offenses had almost the exact same amount of success last week as they've tradtionally had
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Old 10-26-2010   #19
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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The average offensive yards per game last year was 335. This past week was 343. Thats only an 8 yard increase. It didn't seem like much of anything changed. Offenses had almost the exact same amount of success last week as they've tradtionally had
I couldn't disagree more, but then again, you simply answered your own question with that statement. so if nothing changes, then there was no 'improvement' of the defense, according to your statement. The combined points per game went up dramatically last weekend. I don't remember the exact number but it was above 50 for the average. I do remember it being said on MNF, that it was the SECOND HIGHEST EVER in the history of the NFL for Average of Points scored by teams in a weekend. EVER!

That alone will tell you that the defense's were not 'improved' by these new rules.

Defense is supposed to keep points off the boards. Its just that simple. It isn't about yards/ int/ fumbles/ kickoffs/ or punt returns. It's about points on the board and keeping the offense out of the endzone. When the NFL enforces lopsided rules to protect only one side of the team, the offense, there is absolutely no way this could improve the defense. You can produce all the other 'stats' you want, but points on the board is the final, definitive, thing that matters. And Defenses allowed the second most points EVER last weekend.

So did it improve teams defenses? Nope. Not according to the scoreboards

So did it make it vastly more difficult for the defenses. Yep, according to the scoreboards.
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Old 10-26-2010   #20
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Default Re: Did the new helmet to helmet rules actually improve defenses?

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Originally Posted by thegr8fan View Post
I couldn't disagree more, but then again, you simply answered your own question with that statement. so if nothing changes, then there was no 'improvement' of the defense, according to your statement. The combined points per game went up dramatically last weekend. I don't remember the exact number but it was above 50 for the average. I do remember it being said on MNF, that it was the SECOND HIGHEST EVER in the history of the NFL for Average of Points scored by teams in a weekend. EVER!
The 52.8 points was the 2nd highest point total per game in the past 20 years, not ever. In fact, scoring is down significantly for football in general throughout the entire history of the game.

Secondly, you are ignoring the fact that there was an enormous increase in defensive scores last weekend compared to an average week. I discussed this aspect in my first post. A big part of the reason that scores were so high last week was because teams were being given very short fields due to increased turnover numbers AND because defenses were scoring points by themselves. There were greater than 10 defensive scores this past weekend. Thats got to be close to a record.

Points is too simple a number to look at because points can be scored in so many ways. Offenses can score points, but so can defenses and so can special teams.

A terrible offense like the Browns can still score 30 points because their defense scored 2 touchdowns. Their sole offensive score came after a huge special teams trick play. Does this mean the Saints defense was inhibited by the rule change? No, they totally destroyed the Browns. If you remove the special teams yardage, the Browns had less than 140 yards of total offense. The Browns couldnt move the ball worth a crap. But the Saints "D" still got 30 points put up on them?
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